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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The standard illustrated guide to the flora of Britain & Ireland
Not quite pocket-sized, but no bigger than most modern field guides, this might well be the standard illustrated guide for amateurs to the British and Irish flowering plant flora. The guide covers all naturally occurring species plus a large number of naturalised plants. As pointed out below, botanical experience will make the use of the book easier, since there is no...
Published on 16 Jun. 2006 by Christopher J. Sharpe

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitley not for beginners
I have to agree with Peter White. russvarley is right in stating that the whole book is a key. However, unless you know the plant you're looking at is, say, in the carrot family, or the pea family, etc. there is absolutely no way a beginner can find a particular plant.

The book, however, is superbly produced and jam-packed with wonderful illustrations and...
Published on 10 May 2006 by J Grainger


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The standard illustrated guide to the flora of Britain & Ireland, 16 Jun. 2006
By 
Christopher J. Sharpe "Chris Sharpe" (Caracas, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
Not quite pocket-sized, but no bigger than most modern field guides, this might well be the standard illustrated guide for amateurs to the British and Irish flowering plant flora. The guide covers all naturally occurring species plus a large number of naturalised plants. As pointed out below, botanical experience will make the use of the book easier, since there is no general key allowing the user to identify families. However, I wonder how many beginners would really be prepared to spend the time passing each new plant through such a key. For those who can roughly identify a new plant to family and beyond, handy keys ARE provided for the larger groups.

The format is very similar to the "Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe" by the same authors, published by Collins. However, all the illustrations are new and improved. The previous guide's plates were often blurred or otherwise lacking in definition, a problem that does not occur here. A further improvement is the provision of maps that are small enough not to include for the majority of species yet large enough to allow for a fair amount of detail.

The section on grasses is new and particularly useful, truly enabling the user to identify all the flowering plants in the region.

The only other competitor would be Rose's "Wildflower Key" which I have in a 1981 edition, having not seen the current 2006 issue. All in all, the present guide is superior.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent flower book, 19 July 2004
By 
Russ Varley "russvarley" (Scarborough, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
The first thing to say about this book is that contrary to what the previous reviewer said, this book does have keys. The whole book is a key. For example, all the bright yellow dandelion-like flowers are grouped together over about 3 pages; all the pea family is grouped together with the addition of a sub-key to narrow down the search (EG single flowers, group of flowers in tight heads etc.). The key that it is missing is a vegetative key for plants not in flower. However this is balanced by the inclusion of sections for common trees, ferns, grasses (inc sedges and rushes), clubmosses and aquatic plants.
All of these sections are illustrated brilliantly by Blamey. For example the grass section with its easy to follow key and all the grass flowers laid out in painstaking detail has made grass ID a far more pleasurable experience than it ever was using Hubbard. And for those people who think that illustrations are second best to a photograph think again. They make the illustrations in books like the Wildflower Key (Rose) look flat and lifeless and yet contain not of the distracting background that characterises many photographs. They manage to capture the vitality of each plant without obscuring detail.
Having used this book in the field several times I find that I always use this book when I know which family a particular flower belongs to. For those plants that I am unfamiliar with or that are not in flower I use the keys in Rose and then look the answer up in this book.
All in all this is a fantastic book for anyone who is not an absolute beginner (if really helps if you can recognise the plant families) and the only reason it does not get 5 stars is the lack of a vegetative key. If they were to revise it and include one then it would be perfect and I would certainly buy another.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful illustrations, 30 Jun. 2009
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This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
I bought this after my ancient Collins hardback Fitter/Blamey guide fell to bits. The illustrations by Blamey are absolutely beautiful and the book contains a wealth of absorbing information. However I do sometimes struggle to identify an unfamiliar species using this book alone, particularly if the plant I am trying to identify is one of several very similar species, and I have to resort to the Collins 'Complete British Wild Flowers' photoguide instead. I'm told that 'serious botanists' have a tendency to prefer illustrated guides to photoguides, because a good illustration is more likely to depict a 'typical' plant; but useful as this book is, I feel a photoguide would be a more practical place for a complete beginner to start.

One other thing to bear in mind with this book is that it is not the most up to date. The Collins photoguides are reviewed and revised every couple of years or so, but this has not been updated since 2003. This can have an impact on the location of plant species and even the Latin names being out of date. For example the book refers to the common twayblade as listera ovata when more recent research has re-classified it as neottia ovata.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute necessity for anyone interested in plant identification., 19 May 2008
This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
Having used and often relied on a much older version of this classic I was almost reluctant to buy the updated book. Very often updates lose the appeal, qualities and attributes which made them...well, a classic in the first place, as opposed to just a good book. I was so pleased to find that this new print is fabulous. Slightly larger sized, (but still easy to fit into rucksac and jacket pockets) the quality of illustration is great and of course it has all the up to date reclassifications! I could say lots of things, but to make this a quick review (some people do go on!!), I would thoroughly recommend this to ANYONE interested in identifying plants, whether beginner, or more advanced! Like I said, a true classic. You won;t regret having this as a fab ID and reference book.

Karen
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good addition, 22 Sept. 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
to the collection. It's best described as a new version of the earlier Collins guide (same authors), but with two critical differences: there are now NO keys whatever, but there ARE thumbnail distribution maps. The illustrations are superb: a quick comparison with the Collins guide and Rose's 'Wild Flower Key' shows that this guide is probably the best, but not in every case.
If you're happy to take out something like Stace's (baby) Field Flora to use alongside, this book is brilliant as the lack of keys is irrelevant. But really, I feel that for a book of this size (it's really too big and heavy for a pocket), there should be more info - especially keys.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly illustrated, 24 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
This book is a must have addition to anyone interested in botany. Marjorie Blamey's illustrations are second to none.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extension of the basics, 23 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
I generally prefer to have photographic comparisons of species but I do very much appreciate and enjoy this guide with its painted images. The paintings and the text are sufficient enough to be able to identify most species that are in England, Scotland and Ireland. It has proved useful on walks and for identifying flowering plants and shrubs in my own garden that have been seeded by birds or as wind-blown escapees.

Whilst I would agree that it is helpful if you can vaguely identify a species; I would say that I have not found it completely necessary to be that aware of plant species to use the book effectively. As of today (March 2011) I took the book outside to help identify a plant that was flowering. It proved to be a Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus Foetidus). I had never seen this before and yet by one or two minutes browsing I was able to identify it.

If you don't mind having a browse, rather than an instant key, I would firmly recommend it. Especially as by leafing through the book you have the chance to learn how to identify species and recall that for future use.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitley not for beginners, 10 May 2006
By 
J Grainger - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
I have to agree with Peter White. russvarley is right in stating that the whole book is a key. However, unless you know the plant you're looking at is, say, in the carrot family, or the pea family, etc. there is absolutely no way a beginner can find a particular plant.

The book, however, is superbly produced and jam-packed with wonderful illustrations and information. An excellent book for the more experienced but not for the beginner. Beginners should consider Francis Rose's book instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Flower Guide, 30 May 2010
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This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
This guide to wild flowers is extremely useful because it includes grasses, sedges and ferns. There are distribution maps for each species beside the descriptions, with illustrations on the same page. This really is the book to take with you on walks.

However, nothing is perfect. The book is just a little too large for most pockets. The illustrations are helpful but not exceptional (compared with Bo Mossberg, for instance.

Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better illustrations and the maps are great, 31 July 2012
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This review is from: Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Paperback)
This is a substantially revised and updated version of an earlier guide by the same authors. The earlier guide had an easy to use and simple guide at the start which was usually, but not always, very helpful. This edition omits that which is perhaps a pity, but the plants are grouped together in a logical order which, with a little experience, gets around the problem. The illustrations are greatly improved and the little maps indicating where each species is to be found are brilliant and very helpful. All in all, this is a great book.

I also have the Francis Rose "The Wild Flower Key" which is also well illustrated and a fine book but it's much harder to use the keys unless you are very familiar with a wide range of botanical terms. As a non-botanical amateur interested in identifying the flowers I see in my locality, I find the Fitter Fitter and Blamey book easier to use and it's what I usually take.
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